Last Minute Goal Gives Belmont Field Hockey 3-2 Comeback Victory Over Ranked Winchester

Photo: The ball from Lola Rocci passes the outstretched foot of Winchester’s goalie Molly Hillier giving Belmont a 3-2 win in the final 64 seconds. 

Senior co-captain Lola Rocci’s shot from seven meters out eluded the outstretched foot of Winchester goalie Molly Hillier for the game-winning goal with 1:04 left in the fourth quarter giving Belmont High School Field Hockey a double comeback victory over ranked Winchester, 3-2, at Harris Field on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 13.

The victory extends Belmont’s winning streak to nine games and raises its overall record to 11-2. The Red and Black (9-3), ranked 11th in the Boston Globe Top 20, dropped its second consecutive game, losing to national powerhouse Watertown, 7-0.

“I think going into the game, we knew that we were pretty evenly matched, so it was ‘the’ game for us. This is one of the big games because these are the teams we’ll meet in the tourament,” said Rocci.

In a game in which Belmont held the possession advantage and outshot Winchester, the Marauders entered the fourth quarter trailing 2-1, having surrendered once from in close and the other from distance off a penalty corner. Those goals were sandwiched between sophomore MacKenzie Clarke’s first of her brace.

In the deciding fourth quarter, Belmont would keep Winchester bottled up on their end of the pitch. A little more than five minutes in, Clarke rocketed a second backhand tomahawk shot past Hillier.

“That side was mostly open so I just went there. And both went in,” said Clarke who leads the team in goals this season with 17.

The winning goal started with Winchester’s attention directed at Clarke with time winding down. As two players shadowed her and the goalie came out to shorten the angle, Clarke passed to senior Mia Ferrari on her right, who one-timed it to Rossi. Rossi won a close-in challenge for the ball and nutmegged a defender who was partially screening Hillier. Rossi’s push shot snuck by the goalie’s left foot for the winning goal.

“Honestly I think this one was pretty lucky. It was good because this one was on the ground and she’s really good especially when shots are high,” said Rocci.

The Red and Black had one final opportunity with a penalty corner with no time remaining but Belmont sent the ball beyond the scoring circle for the win.

Belmont’s next two games are on Monday and Tuesday beginning with a repeat fixture at Winchester.

“So we go into it with the same energy and momentum while keeping up the tempo,” said Rocci of Winchester.

Tuesday’s encounter with the co-ed Rockets will be Belmont’s chance to revenge its only Middlesex Liberty Division defeat this season.

“In that game [a 3-0 home loss], we had a lot of opportunities we just didn’t capitalize on them,” said Clarke. “So going into the game, we know their goalie is very good, so we have to pull around and shoot so the goalie won’t just get straight shots.”

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